With the NRL season back in full swing and the competition finally settling down into some type of rhythm we can finally take a look at where teams sit on the NRL ladder and start to look at where their season is heading.
So far the season has proven to be very close. If you have been following the experts as they give their NRL Tips you’ll know that some teams are performing very consistently, which other game been all over the shop!
The Parramatta Eels place at the top of the NRL ladder is well deserved. Unbeaten so far and having recently dispatched a very good Panthers team, the Eels now face a test in the two time defending premiers the Sydney Roosters this weekend. A win would further cement the Eels place at the top of the league and could possibly give them a bit of breathing space from the rest of the pack that is chasing them. Conversely the Roosters need the win to get into the top half of the top 8, and a loss would possibly see them fall out of the top 8 if results go against that.
Not a bad amount on the line for both teams!
The Melbourne Storm match against the Penrith Panthers is another which could change a whole lot in terms of where teams stand. Its a battle between 3rd and 5th place, and the winner will find themselves breaking away from the pack and entrenched among the very top teams in the competition, while the loser will be firmly back in the pack of teams fighting for the lower places in the top 8 teams.
The Newcastle Knights find themselves in a similar position, albeit against an opponent that is struggling for form in the Brisbane Broncos. The Knights have been very solid to start the 2020 season and win over the Broncos would once again see them firmly entrenched in the top of the competition as opposed to being part of that chasing pack. That would make a loss to the Broncos very disappointing. They have it all to play for.
The Canberra Raiders haven’t been in the best of form the last couple of weeks but they still find themselves in 2nd place on the NRL ladder. They face off against a tough Manly Sea Eagles side who are currently in 7th place on the ladder and looking to keep their place in the top 8.
While the Raiders can’t take top spot, and have a little more breathing room than most sides near the top of the ladder, the Sea Eagles could fall out of the top 8 with a loss.
Then you have the 8th places North Queensland Cowboys taking on everyones favourite 9th placed team, the Wests Tigers. Both teams are struggling a little right now, both have disappointing losses and both have 4 competition points along with 3 other clubs. That makes a win here vital, but just as importantly it means that if either side cops a heavy loss in this match, they could be the victim of a devastating fall down the NRL ladder.
Two of the teams with them on 4 competition points are the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors. The Warriors have been surprisingly decent so far this season but the Rabbitohs stars look like they are finally finding their feet. Who knows how this game will play out, but much like every other team mentioned so far, a win here is important to maintain their place in the race for the top 8.
The last two matches between the Sharks and Bulldogs, and the St George/Illawarra Dragons and Gold Coast Titans have less top 8 implications, although both games could see a clear wooden spoon favourite emerge.
So as you can see, this is a really important round of football this weekend. I can’t wait for it!